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Yekaterinburg – 28th September 2011

Yekaterinburg, a city where there are probably more cars than people, a place where the capacity of the city is about 1 million, but has nearly 1.5 million inhabitants. If you want to sit in traffic then this is your place, day and night the roads were gridlocked.

Yekaterinburg is the capital of the Urals region, it is 60 kilometres from the border with Siberia and it is a natural stop off from the Trans-Siberian Railway. As the journey on the Tran-Siberian railway takes me further east towards Asia, you can visibly see the change in the make up of the people, the tone of the skin in some has become darker and the shape of the eyes wider, although at this point it is still only in its minority. The further east I go I'm expecting that the reverse will be true.

The City has a strong Russian Mafia presence but that is exclusively for the passage of heroin from East to West. I was told that since the fall of the USSR the stonemasons who had previously had work orders full creating statues glorifying famous Socialists have since had their order books filled with vanity seeking Russian Mafioso who want their own statues built. There is a mafia graveyard just outside of the city where life size tombstones are built showing the deceased in all of their glory, typically with some Mercedes Car keys in one hand and a wad of cash in another!!!
The place has a very industrial feel to it, Chimneys and factories for the likes of Gazprom and Pepsi, the exhaust fumes from those old cars and trucks on the road just manage to line your lungs with enough Carbon to slowly erode at your lung capacity.

That being said, there is still something quite decent about Yekaterinburg. There was no hostility in the people there, in fact I found them to be very friendly. I had lengthy conversations with random people who just happened to be walking in the same direction. People here speak a little bit of English and are very happy to practice speaking with you.

I stayed here at a place called Meeting Point. My first impression was not good, I had walked into somebodies Russian flat with 70s style furniture, a primitive kitchen with a bathroom that supplied smelly water. Russians like having carpets on their wall I have been told, and this place didn’t disappoint, but what made this place a hostel was the bunk beds in the corner of the room. That given I wish I had been able to stay here longer, the place itself gave me the first real Russian experience I had been wanting.

Unfortunately I had a long journey from Yekaterinburg to Irkutsk already booked. This journey was going to be monumental, I understood originally that it was going to be a 40 hour train journey, but have since learnt that it is more like 50….

waking up to this enroute to Yekaterinburg on the Trans-Siberian
Reading Dostoyevsky in my new Russian Home
my Russian Kitchen
A ridiculous QWERTY keyboard 'tourist attraction'
some old dude in Bronze, Russia officially invnted the slogan 'speak to the hand'

Article By David Beattie of Rounton Coffee

Posted by beatski 02:11 Archived in Russia

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your russian kitchen looks like the finished control mess room in fact i can see some of Ians plumbing. good to see your not slumming it :)

by andy keen

Haha, he hasnt shorted out Pauls wiring has he with any of his leaky pipes??
This was 5* accommodation Andy, im in Russia, dread to think what the economy is?

by beatski

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